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© Copyright 2024, John Bowman

Welcome to our FBHVC Page.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

April 2024

by Robin Astle.

From FBHVC Newsletter 2024 No. 1

LEGISLATION by Lindsay Irvine


A New Year often brings new problems but also fresh opportunities. It also contains rehashes of past and enduring issues, as you will read in this column. So, the topics of Car Cruising, emissions-based parking charges and road pricing have all featured before. However, they have endured into 2024 and will clearly continue beyond. That other enduring feature, the London ULEZ comes up again under the guise of early discussions on what may replace it. Just before Christmas, the Legislation Committee also discussed the issue of MOTs for later historic lorries (HGVs) which remains a bone of contention for many members, and the topic is covered below. An immediate solution is not on offer but the background bears repeating with a view to charting out a realistic way ahead. I touch on good old GDPR in the context of club archiving and finally issue a “Purple” warning.

Car Cruising

For those rusty or vague about this topic, I direct you back precisely 3 years ago to Newsletter 1/2021. Under the title of “Car Cruising and Dangerous Doughnuts”, I described the background and impetus for local councils to legislate in this area. The annoying and occasionally dangerous behaviour perpetrated in some of our towns and outskirts arose in the form of large gatherings of what have been termed “boy racer” drivers on the public highway or in car parks. This forced councils to seek powers to ban them. As I described previously:

“These activities coupled often with the sheer number of attendees give rise to alarm in members of the public and have on occasion resulted in serious injuries when control of vehicles has been lost… Restraint has come in two forms; a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) under the Anti-Social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act or an injunction under the Local Government and Highways Acts. An injunction carries the power of arrest and secondly the penalties for breach are greater (likely imprisonment for contempt of court) whilst only a financial penalty is available for breach of a PSPO. “

3 years on and the problem persists. Not only are existing orders and injunctions being extended but new ones proposed, and we have recently responded to a consultation on a PSPO put forward by South Gloucestershire Council.

The relevance to the historic vehicle community has not been the fear that you or fellow enthusiasts are likely to indulge in “driving at excessive speed in carparks, racing other vehicles (including motor bikes and quad bikes), performing stunts (i.e. doughnuts) shouting or swearing at or otherwise intimidating other people.” The issue of concern in the past has been the inclusion of a ban on “driving in convoy” as this could have applied to perfectly acceptable HV gatherings for a drive to the pub or a treasure hunt.

In the main, councils have responded positively to our representations on this issue and have either removed it or undertaken to ensure that enforcement is carried out sensibly and proportionately or as one council put it:

“…..XXX and the Police fully intend to enforce the Injunction in a common-sense fashion, and that it appears unlikely that a historic vehicle convoy would give rise to the issues that the Injunction seeks to prevent .“

In the case of South Gloucestershire, there is no ban on “driving in convoy” in their draft order, indicating that earlier concerns have been appreciated. However, there is still scope for misunderstandings in relation to gatherings of HVs especially as the area covered is very large and encompasses rural as well as urban areas. We therefore submitted a response to the consultation which made two requests.

  1. That the order is amended to contain a provision for specific dispensations from Prohibited Activities for specific events to take place on land to which the draft order applies and

  2. The Council provide a clear and unambiguous assurance that guidance will be provided to those monitoring or enforcing the Order on the primary purpose of the injunction and that common sense should be applied to lawful gatherings of historic vehicles enthusiasts.

I am pleased to say that we received a swift and positive response from the Council on our submission, so I hope the final version of the scheme takes full account of our observations.

Environmental Issues

Emissions-Based Parking Charges

Having conceded a lack of success on this matter in the last edition (and not wanting to prolong the agony I won’t go into all the background again) this topic finally hit the mainstream media before Christmas. I have observed before how late the “big” media hitters often are when it comes to raising a red flag on major issues usually after all the usual channels for consultation and protest are over.

All I can add is that my prediction that emission-based parking charges would catch on like wildfire with cash strapped local councils is already in progress. What started as a regime largely confined to residents’ parking passes in London postal districts is due to spread country-wide with no obvious Government policy either on its philosophy or proportionality. What is almost certain is that we would not receive a different response to any submission from the over 300 councils which may go down this route and our lobbying efforts would be exhausted just trying.

Project Detroit

Just as those in the locality get used to the expanded London ULEZ, what lies over the horizon? On the basis that the number of non-compliant (and therefore charge paying) vehicles is certain to decline, the income for TfL will too unless charges are increased or policies changed. The technical infrastructure which monitors and enforces the system is aging as well. Hence Project Detroit or Project 2030 to which our attention has been drawn. Because of some apparent obfuscation about these concepts, questions have been asked of TfL through Freedom of Information channels. The official line is here In summary, TfL is looking to replace its existing road charging technology platform (which covers the Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ) with a new in-house one. What will have concentrated minds in their answer is:

“The Detroit platform has the capability to be extended and we will be looking to build the system flexibly so that other forms of charging based on distance, vehicle type, etc., could be catered for if a decision was made in future to do so.”

The second piece in the jigsaw is the Mayor’s response to the policy questions put to him at Mayor’s Question Time at London City Hall in November 2023. Mr. Khan is reported to have answered: “I’ve been crystal clear. A pay-per-mile scheme is not on the table and not on my agenda.”

As I have reported before, councils including the GLA are bound to look at alternative schemes in the future as vehicles which do not meet emissions standards are withdrawn and revenue falls. We already have Road Charging in place as a concept (though currently emissions or congestion based), but pricing on the basis of per mile remains a political hot potato at local and national government level. We will obviously aim to retain HV exemptions or concessions under any future regime should minds at City Hall change.

DVLAby Ian Edmunds

Unfortunately, since my last report which you will have read in December 2023, events have not progressed as we had hoped and expected, although, that said, we remain optimistic, as I will explain.

You are probably aware that the Under Secretary for State with responsibility for the Agencies, Richard Holden, was promoted to Party Chairman in the Government reshuffle in November. His place was taken by Guy Opperman MP on 13th November. One quick and wholly expected result of this was that the DVLA Historic Vehicle User Group meeting scheduled for 23rd November was firstly postponed and finally cancelled. Mr Holden had expressed his intention to attend this meeting in person but not unreasonably Mr. Opperman did not consider at that time he was adequately briefed to step in.

This was potentially not looking so good - but the Federations ‘Westminster Division’ swung into action! David Whale wrote to Mr. Opperman’s office requesting a meeting as soon as his appointment was announced and, in addition to the routine automated reply received, within a few days, a response requesting him to write again in the New Year. Meanwhile the redoubtable Sir Greg Knight had managed to waylay Mr. Opperman in a Division Lobby and have a few words.

The outcome of all this activity is that Mr Opperman now has one of the Federation’s previous written submissions and we are pleased to report he was aware of a number of material issues currently faced by the historic vehicle community with DVLA and their ever-changing interpretations. He also recognises that the delay historic vehicle enthusiasts have been subjected to in addressing these issues is unacceptable and has committed to talk to the Secretary of State within a specified time and come back to us.

So, as I implied at the beginning – no measurable progress as such but nevertheless every reason to believe we continue to edge towards a far more positive position.

Entirely separate to the events reported above, there have been two unrelated developments with the V765 Scheme.

This has not of recent times been a particular priority for the Federation. It has continued to operate without too many difficulties and we have tended to concentrate our efforts on the many DVLA changes that are totally preventing the registration of historic vehicles.

Nevertheless, at the HVUG meeting last August, DVLA unexpectedly requested our thoughts concerning the documents and other evidence they should consider when coming to a decision on the reissue of a registration under the V765 scheme. We responded to essentially make two points. The first was that we strongly believe that in some cases (certainly not all) it is possible to form a safe conclusion from consideration of a portfolio of evidence and the second was that almost any document could potentially provide the necessary link between chassis/frame number and the registration being claimed. We supported this with a list of possible examples stressing that this was neither definitive nor exclusive. We await the DVLA reaction.

Unconnected to the above, the Kits and Rebuilds Team have carried out their regular housekeeping activity of contacting all the club contacts on the V765/1 list to prompt the clubs to update their information. As is usual, the package contained a copy of the V765/2 application form and also a copy of the V765/3 Guidance Notes. The latter have been rewritten but having compared old and new word-by-word, there is only one change, albeit quite significant. Where the old version stated that an authorising club ‘should’ inspect the vehicle in question, this has become ‘must’ inspect. It continues to be acceptable to delegate the inspection to ‘an appropriately knowledgeable person’.


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